And what about the influence of fathers on the lives of their children? The pop culture frequently portrays dads as disposable, doltish or dangerous. The reality, of course, is that dads pay a vital role in their children's development and well-being. One study summarized on FamilyFacts.org reveals that "father absence was associated with the likelihood that adolescent girls will be sexually active and become pregnant as teenagers." Many other studies reveal the essential person "dad" is in the lives of his children.

And what about Mom? It has been said that the most powerful word in any language is "mother." Yet, our society increasingly belittles the role and seems to place higher value on the mom who hires others to care for her children than the mom who sacrifices to raise them herself. One study, published in the journal Family Relations and also summarized on FamilyFacts.org, found that the children who were the most successful in first grade (in terms of test scores and teachers’ ratings) were those whose mothers had spent "a great deal of time in positive interactions with them." It also found that their academic success "correlated with their mothers’ involvement in talking with them, listening to them and answering their questions."

My gut has always told me that my children needed my husband and me to be an active part of their daily lives. Thank the Lord we listened to our quiet instincts over the myriad other boisterous voices whose constant mantra tells parents that we are irrelevant, replaceable and even harmful. I've come to realize all too soon that "parenthood is not a dress rehearsal" -- and for us, the show is over. Yes, we will always be Drew's parents - but his impressionable childhood in our home is gone forever.

Silence surrounds me as I stand in my kitchen just before midnight. Gazing down at the air-conditioning vent vainly hoping to hear or feel some small evidence of life, the reality hits me: The basement is silent.

I remind myself that the original music of my son's life is just beginning. And I have joy and peace in knowing that my time with him will always nurture his melody.



Rebecca Hagelin has championed the pro-family message in both Washington and around the nation for some twenty years. She is a vice president of The Heritage Foundation (Heritage.org) whose vision is to "Create an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity and civil society flourish." Her weekly column, "Heart Beat," appears on WorldNetDaily.com and Townhall.com. For more information on Home Invasion visit: www.homeinvasion.org.